WWE’s Royal Rumble is on Saturday, something that’s easy to forget amid Vince McMahon’s tumultuous return to WWE. The second biggest pro wrestling show of the year, the Royal Rumble determines who will main-event the biggest show of the year, WrestleMania.
Thus far we know five matches that’ll take place on the show. First, there are the two Royal Rumble matches themselves: one for the men, one for the women. On the men’s side, strong possibilities include Cody Rhodes and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who’s long been rumored to be wrestling Roman Reigns at WrestleMania. You also can’t rule out Brock Lesnar, who on Friday’s SmackDown announced he’d be in the bout. The shortlist is more hazy on the women’s side, where it’s a truly open field.
Reigns will be defending his WWE Universal Championship titles against Kevin Owens. It’s the pair’s third title match at the Royal Rumble: They first clashed in 2017, when Owens retained his Universal Championship, and then again in 2021 in the infancy of Reigns’ historic title run. It should be a fun match.
More fun, for sure, than Bray Wyatt’s return bout, against LA Knight. People clamored for Wyatt to return to the company, but we’ll see how long that excitement lasts considering the goofy storylines his mystical character engenders. Wyatt and Knight will clash in a “lights out” match at the Rumble — a first-of-its-kind bout which is hilariously sponsored by Mountain Dew.
Royal Rumble 2023 takes place at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, on Jan. 28. For those without a live ticket, it starts at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET. Grappling fans across the pond will have to stay up late, as the show starts at 1 a.m. UK time. In Australia, the Royal Rumble begins at midday AEDT on Sunday.
Royal Rumble predictions
Cody Rhodes is winning: Cody Rhodes’ WWE Championship saga began after his return at last year’s WrestleMania, when in a promo he declared his reason for leaving AEW was to fulfill his destiny, win the title and make his late father, Dusty Rhodes, proud. The main person standing in his way wasn’t WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, but Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The favorites to win the Rumble and go on to face Reigns are Rhodes and Rock. My money’s on Rhodes.
Kevin Owens will make you believe: There’s no way Kevin Owens beats Roman Reigns on Saturday at the Royal Rumble. But Owens has a talent for making you think he can defy the odds, and Reigns has a knack for looking more beatable than he really is. These two are so, so good, and there bout will be a highlight of the show. You’ll go in knowing Reigns will win, but they’ll convince you, even if for a few seconds, that Owens is walking out with the gold.
Bianca Belair will retain, but that won’t be the end of it: Judging by the story that’s being told on Raw, Alexa Bliss is going to the dark side. Bray Wyatt’s reemergence has awoken the spirit within her — or something. Alexa Bliss as the female Fiend was never fun, but it looks like it’s happening again. I expect Belair to retain her title on Sunday, but that to lead to Bliss falling deeper down the rabbit hole, possibly setting up Bliss to win the title at Elimination Chamber.
Full Royal Rumble 2023 card
- WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Kevin Owens.
- 30-man Royal Rumble match.
- 30-woman Royal Rumble match.
- Lights Out match: Bray Wyatt vs. LA Knight.
- WWE Raw Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair (c) vs. Alexa Bliss.
How to watch: Peacock, WWE Network, Binge
As you probably know by now, Peacock is the new home of WWE’s pay-per-views. The WWE Network has in essence migrated to NBC’s Peacock streaming service and that’s where you’ll go to watch Royal Rumble 2023. Peacock has three tiers: Free, Premium and Premium Plus. To watch WWE content, you’ll need a Premium subscription. The good news is that’ll set you back $5 a month, less than the $10 for WWE Network.
Just like the WWE Network has been absorbed by Peacock in the US, it’s migrated to Foxtel’s Binge streaming service in Australia. WWE’s deal with Binge went into effect earlier this month, so Binge is where Australians should seek the Rumble, though the WWE Network is still operational for now.
If you’re in the UK, you’ll watch Royal Rumble 2023 on the WWE Network as usual.